Tag Archive | Formula One

2013 Formula One Singapore Grand Prix – My story from the racing weekend

Thursday

The racing weekend usually starts on Thursday not because there is something going on with the circuit officially (well there was the Driver Autograph session and the Pit-Lane walk but I didn’t win either tickets, so much for paying back to die-hard fans), but just to look at the circuit and see if I can bump into one of the drivers. In previous years I’ve met the likes of Heikki Kovalainen, Narain Karthikeyan, Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Vettel in either 2011 (for the first two) or 2008 (the next two). This time, I didn’t get to meet a current F1 driver but I did meet a possible future F1 driver in James Calado, who’s been doing well in F1’s feeder series GP2, and is the new Force India test driver. Also saw Daniel Abt but he just walked away.

Also got to meet Porsche Carrera Cup Asia drivers Yuey Tan and Rodolfo Avila, big thanks to a friend of mine for allowing me to just talk about racing with those guys like we’re just fans of the sport, you don’t always get to do that with professional racers like those two. I didn’t get to walk around the circuit due to the heavy presence of security, but I did get to see the GP2 cars almost up close, they’ve moved to the support paddock opposite Marina Square. Also went to Millenia Walk later on the day to catch a glimpse of Mercedes F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. No luck with getting their autographs.

ImageGP2 car of Daniel Abt up close

Friday

That Friday was possibly one of my longest days, starting from leaving the house at 9am to getting back home at about 12.30am! I didn’t just enjoy the action at the Marina Bay Street Circuit for the first two practice of F1 and also GP2 practice and qualifying (also staying back to watch Korea’s Big Bang at the Padang stage for my cousins) but also the UBS Go-Kart Challenge with David Coulthard. I did one post just for the UBS go-kart challenge before this post so check it out.

After the super fun but extremely tiring go-kart race with David Coulthard, which I finished side-by-side with him. We got dropped off at the same place they picked us up, and guess who I saw there? DC himself, he had just finished a appearance for UBS, giving prizes to the winners of the simulator challenge (I didn’t do so well for that one). It was cool that he noticed us and I said to him to enjoy the weekend and he said to me to enjoy my weekend too. After my lunch/dinner at Burger King, it’s off to the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

I started my “adventure” at Gate 6, just opposite the Fullerton Hotel, with a good view of the Turn 13 hairpin, the same place where I stood to watch my first race live back in 2011. I missed the first session which was the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia practice and barely made it to the start of the GP2 practice session, watching the future F1 starts making their way through Turn 13, and this time, getting much better pictures there than I did back in 2011. That day I saw a number of guys making mistakes there, this time, I didn’t see any mistakes. That’s because I wasn’t there when the mistakes happened in the first F1 practice session, I had moved elsewhere.

DSC_0161Really liking this shot of Alex Rossi’s Caterham, all green around!

I made my way down to the Esplanade Straight, just before Turn 14 to see the final bits of the GP2 practice, hearing the cars at full power. For that reason, I stayed there for the first practice session for the F1 guys. I do like that spot as you can really hear the cars working, downshifting going into Turn 14 and even see sparks coming off these cars. I would have moved around if not for my friend letting me know that he was coming along and wanted to meet me. Still, I did get to see the cars (if I could catch them) at their very best down that straight.

After that session, my friend wanted to get his dinner at Macs, which I knew would be packed, so I told him to get it dinner while I enjoy GP2 qualifying, which I missed half the session because of the long line going into Gate 3, which is the popular spot (just off Raffles City mall). I caught the GP2 qualifying action from just after Turn 8 and didn’t realise that the spot I chose was actually not bad, so I stayed on for the start of the second practice session. We moved over to the Bay Grandstand next as my friend wanted to see what view he would get from his ticket. Of course, I had to check out the view too so we swapped tickets for a while and I have to say, even from the second last row of the Bay Grandstand, the view isn’t all that bad!

DSC_0185Daniel Ricciardo driving under the grandstand!

After checking out the view, we made our way to the Padang stage, trying to get a good view to catch K-Pop stars Big Bang. First of all, I’m not big on K-Pop but some people in my family are, so I was trying to get some pics and videos just for them. Those guys aren’t that bad, just their fans there were a bit too crazy, pushing around just to get a better view, I nearly dropped my $1,000 Nikon camera thanks to one idiot. I got so pissed off I just left after 30 minutes, I just couldn’t take getting pushed around for no reason anymore. Plus, I was freaking tired at that point haha!

Saturday

Not an early start for me on Saturday luckily but I still went earlier than usual, I got to Gate 2 just off Millenia Walk by 3pm and didn’t realise the gates only opened at 3pm so I was one of the first few lining up. I didn’t know this was also a good spot to see a number of F1 personnel. I was walking right behind McLaren’s Sam Michael the whole way to the Singapore Flyer and also saw the likes of Stefano Domenicalli of Ferrari and Guillaume Roquelin of Red Bull. That wasn’t all the people I saw.

I moved over to the GP2 support paddock and saw all the cars lined up, but not the drivers. I stood by near the entrance of the support paddock and then saw GP2 drivers one by one, walking out of the support paddock and to their cars. The one person I almost got to ask a pic for was the one guy I was hoping to meet, Alexander Rossi. I was a bit too starstruck to even ask him initially and when I started moving, he was heading off to his car. Damn my luck.

I made my way to a viewing platform just opposite pit-lane, all the way to the right of the pit grandstand, meaning I got a good view of the cars going past at the start. I had hoped to catch the action from Turn 3 but for some reason the viewing platform wasn’t there. I stuck around for a few laps, just seeing the cars fly past before heading off Turn 23, the same place I had decided I would watch the race from for Sunday. On the way I got to see one of my classmates working at the pit granstand so that was a nice surprise. After a short while of watching the action from Turn 23, I moved over to Turn 22, I might as well wait for the action at Turn 23 till Sunday.

The spot I found at Turn 22 wasn’t that good with many catch fences as it was for the photographers but interestingly none of them were there for the GP2 Feature race, giving me some good shots from that angle. For the last few laps, I went over to Turn 21, that’s one of the better spots to take pictures of these cars. It was there that I saw Felipe Nasr lock up, and one lap later, his team-mate Jolyon Palmer overtook him for the win. Good to see James Calado finishing on the podium too, hope he gets a drive in F1 soon.

DSC_0240Lots of close racing going on here

I headed back to Turn 22 for the first part of Practice 3 before heading back to Turn 21. This time, the pro photographers did block my view, making it more tricky for me to get some good pictures but when I had a gap, man were those pictures great! Plus, there’s something about the last two corners at Turn 22 and 23 that always attracts me there, the two quickest (and proper) corners on track, you get to see the cars at their best (and worst for those cars that are rubbish).

DSC_0349Really liked this shot of Paul di Resta going through Turn 22, one of my better shots

After the session, I headed over to the Esplanade Outdoor Theater to catch The Dhol Foundation in action. Those guys are just simply awesome, the were probably the only ones for the off-track entertainment that I wanted to catch (and that includes The Killers and Rihana). How awesome were they with their dhols? They didn’t just play Bhangra songs, they also did Reggae and even Irish Folk! I thought their acoustic set was awesome too. I had to leave before their show ended, hoping I had a good spot for F1 qualifying at my usual spot of Turn 16.

I had a decent spot but the place changed the last time I was there (2011), so I didn’t get as good views as I used to but hey, they still had a superscreen there, so that’s all good for me. I thought I’d have some fun by trying to get close up shots of the driver’s helmets, I sure need more work on my timing and my focus to get them just right. Q3 was an interesting session, Sebastian Vettel did the one lap and never went out for a second run. That nearly backfired with Mark Webber, Romain Grosjean and Nico Rosberg all doing quick laps but Rosberg just missed out, which made the Vettel fan-girls next to me scream like crazy. Jeez, it’s just a pole position.

DSC_0753Seb Vettel and his sparkling helmet on his way to another pole position

Sunday

Last day of the racing weekend and once again, I’m making my way through the circuit from Gate 2, realizing that’s the best place to spot drivers or personnel. I did get to see PCCA driver Earl Bamber but couldn’t get a picture of him. I headed straight for my spot at the viewing platform at Turn 23 and guess what, no-one else was around, giving me enough time to find the right spot. Soon I was joined by a couple of Aussie peeps, and hey, it’s always good to be around these Aussies, they’s always the ones who make the atmosphere more fun. Makes it better for me that I’m also a Mark Webber fan and sporting his shirt. Heck, even an English lady next to me was a Webber fan, we were turning that spot to the Mark Webber fan zone haha! That was until other fans joined in.

The first piece of action was the GP2 sprint race, the one were pit-stops are not needed but strangely enough, there were a lot of pit-stops in that race, the tyres just didn’t go well for some guys. It sucked to see Alex Rossi with wing damage at the start, he was the first to make his way to pit-lane with his broken front wing. I also spotted Stefano Coletti with front wing damage before he made his stop. It was another good race, the mid-grid action was the best with cars closely following each other. Great to see Sam Bird taking the win, his fifth of the season. The guy deserves a shot in F1.

DSC_0120Sam Bird on his way to his 5th GP2 win of this year

Next up was the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia race and well, we didn’t get much of a race because of a strange incident. A one car crash on Lap 2 didn’t look big, it caused the safety car but it looked as if they could get the car away quickly but it took them 6 or 7 laps out of the 12 scheduled to get the car to a safe place, the car was badly damaged. There were a lot of good racing there too, and Rodolfo Avila got some overtakes in front of me, thanks man! He and Yuey Tan even raced with each other for a while, both those guys sure were friendly when I met them on Thursday. Bamber won the race ahead of Craig Baird, who had won this race for the last two years.

After that was the F1 driver’s parade and this one was a bit different for me. I hadn’t realised that right opposite me was the spot where the drivers would drop off after the parade and that meant I had a bit of trouble trying to get some of the drivers in my video. I missed Lewis Hamilton in my view as he went off his parade classic car right away, some of the fans were not happy about that haha! Of course, Mark Webber and Jenson Button got some of the louder cheers along with Raikkonen, Vettel and Alonso. And well, being around a bunch of Aussies, there were loud cheers for Daniel Ricciardo too, and he gave us all a thumbs up!

I got a great view of the last two rows on the grid but the only guy I could see was Max Chilton, who walked past opposite us for his little break for the race. Turn 23 turned out to be a good spot, you can tell which cars were great around the last two quick corners and which ones were rubbish. The Marussia cars always looked like it would go off, they were really unstable at times. So it was pretty funny that apart from Chilton’s second lap off moment there, they didn’t go off at the corner. Esteban Gutierrez nearly hit the wall in front of us in his Sauber, I really thought he would head straight for it, but he saved it! Valtteri Bottas also went off but wasn’t as dramatic as Gutierrez’s off moment.

DSC_0906Close call for Gutierrez

After the safety car, the race got more interesting and everytime Mark Webber made an overtake, there were loud cheers going around my area. There were even louder cheers when Paul di Resta crashed with a few laps to go. Not the fans didn’t like him, but it looked like the safety car might come out and cut Vettel’s huge gap and mean Webber would be right in front of Raikkonen for the last podium spot. We kept looking at the marshals, some even shouting at them to put up the “SC” board haha!

It never went up and Vettel had an easy run to the flag. Alonso finished 2nd with Raikkonen taking 3rd, amazing drives by both former champions (Alonso started 7th, Raikkonen started 13th and had back issues), and they’ll be Ferrari team-mates next year! Webber didn’t finish 4th. Heck, he didn’t finish the last lap. I saw smokes count out of his car with one lap to go and he stopped with two thirds of the circuit to go. But hey, he gave us that classic shot when Alonso gave him a lift back to the pits, that rarely happens! I never thought my last picture of Mark Webber would be that of him being on Alonso’s car getting a taxi ride back to the pits.

DSC_0071Webber getting a lift from Alonso after his Red Bull car failed on him on the last lap

After the safety car went through the circuit, mayhem ensued! Fans running to the podium, hoping to catch the podium finishers up close. I did join in when they were playing the Austrian national anthem for Red Bull, I mean that anthem was freaking long. So long that when I got to the track, Raikkonen just got this 3rd place trophy, so I got a good shot of the guys spraying the champagne! Of course, we had the whole controversy of the booing of Seb Vettel on the podium but that only happened the second time Martin Brundle spoke to him. And at the same time, there were a lot of Alonso chants too, need me to tell you who were booing Vettel? No surprises there I guess.

After checking out the pit-lane, seeing the Sky Sports doing their thing just outside the Red Bull garage and seeing the cars at parc ferme, it was time for me to head back home. I got delayed when I saw The Dhol Foundation playing at the Village Stage, so why the heck not? Just stay back a little bit more to watch them playing their awesome dhols, these guys are just mega! 2013 Singapore Grand Prix is done, I can’t wait for the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix to start already. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the sights of another race before it, bring 2014 on!

DSC_0107Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen celebrate their podium finish at the 2013 F1 Singapore Grand Prix

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UBS Go-Kart Challenge with David Coulthard – My story of that event

I couldn’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that I was one of the lucky five chose to compete in this event. I mean, we got a chance to race with David Coulthard! Yes, that same guy who drove for Williams, McLaren and Red Bull and have won 13 grand prix in his career! And being a McLaren fan myself, I had always been a DC fan during that era so I got a chance to race one of my favourite drivers in the early days of me watching F1. I’ve done some runs in those fun Go-Karts a couple of times but this was my first time being in a “competitive” racing sessions, those guys treated the whole thing like one. I’ve done some runs in those fun Go-Karts a couple of times but this was my first time being in a “competitive” racing sessions, those guys treated the whole thing like one.

The kind people at UBS picked us up at their offices at Raffles and we made the long trip to Kartright Speedway (which is at Jurong, the very west of Singapore). Kartright was the first “race-track” t o be opened in Singapore in 2010 but this was my first time racing there. The track itself was not bad, best go-kart track I’ve driven at so far. I asked my brother to accompany me to the event and get some pictures for me but the UBS people were lacking some racers to fill the grid of 20, so they asked my brother to join in the fun, that lucky bugger. The first session was the practice session for us contests winners and just before it started, David Coulthard showed up, and of course, I had to meet him right away, it’s DC damn it!

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David Coulthard! Seen him race many times, now I get to see him race real up close

I only realised as we were getting ready for the practice session that most of the people I was up against we were pro-karters themselves or have driven go-karts on a regular basis, with me being the least experienced. I knew I had to do my very best to get into the grand final, my best practice time was just 57 seconds, not good so far. For the qualifying session, I did find some time and got a 53 second lap. All there was left to do was watch the second session and hope I’ve done enough.

I didn’t keep track of my time for most part of that session, just seeing what my brother was doing. He had been doing laps of 62+ seconds for the most time before he did a 57 second lap on his last effort. There were a few guys who did 52s laps and some 53s laps, so I had to wait to know if my time was good enough. I would know if I made it when the published the grid for the “mini-final” and my name wasn’t on it, so I made it. My brother didn’t do so well and finished a lap down but he was suffering with his wrist, just like I was. We didn’t have gloves like most others. Now it was time for the grand final, and I’m happy that I’ve got into that grand final, that’s all I wanted because I knew I wouldn’t be competitive against the others haha!

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Me and the legendary David Coulthard!

I was bound to start 7th and I had the legendary David Coulthard starting next to me. I wished him luck just before we got into our karts and he told me “just have fun out there”. It was a 10 car grid with two guys starting in pit-lane (one was supposed to start on pole but was penalised). DC had a mega start, squeezing his way through the field already and I was trying to pick up the pieces but I couldn’t do much. I tried my best to keep up with the rest but I just couldn’t. Then again, this was my first “race” against people who’ve raced many times before, all I wanted to do was to finish on the lead lap and hopefully not last.

I did get past one guy who was struggling more than myself with a nice outside pass, showing that I can race these guys, too bad I didn’t have the speed. DC had made his way to the front in just two laps but after a while, he drove through pit-lane just to have some fun. The two fastest guys the whole way battled for the lead and finishing 1-2, just not in the order most expected. DC was fighting for 3rd before he slowed down just before the line, allowing everyone to pass him. I didn’t want to beat a legend like him that way so I slowed down too just before the line, trying to make it a dead heat between us but I messed up, David beat me by some 0.2 seconds. I finished 8th in the end but hey, for my first race, I finished side-by-side with David Coulthard, no matter the situation, no-one can ever take that away from me haha! Still wondering if anyone had a good picture of it.

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Ok, so they spelled my name wrongly but that’s ok, my name is just below David Coulthard’s! Now that’s freaking cool.

I was a bit dissapointed with my own race, hoping I could at least fight for a top 5 spot but then again, I never really stood a chance. Oh well, I did get to race with David Coulthard, so that was super cool, and I got to speak to him as if we were good friends. I also got him to sign his book “It Is What It Is” and his 2000 McLaren F1 Minichamp diecast! People have called him the gentleman racer, he sure is a gent! I didn’t win anything but I did get some stuff from UBS and also the cake but that never made it home haha! Big thanks to UBS for setting this up, never had so much fun at an event like this in a long while. How I wish I could do go-kart racing or any kind of racing for a living, now that’s my dream job.

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If only I could do this for real!

Great September so far

I can safely say I’m kinda enjoying this month’s holiday break for me. The way my school works, we study for two months, rest for one, so September is the third “rest” month for me, and so far, the fun one too haha! Not just because the Singapore Grand Prix is just next week, but a few things have been happening too.

This time last week, I was looking forward to seeing WWE legend Booker T in Singapore for the first time ever in a meet and greet session and I got to meet him. This time next week, I won’t just be looking forward to the first days action of the Singapore Grand Prix with Friday Practice but also I’ll be looking forward to meeting F1 legend David Coulthard! Yup, I won some UBS Go-Kart contest to race with him along with 4 others, so I can’t wait for that. The contest theme was about “I love racing”, no surprise that I won right? The picture that won it for me was my 70+ F1 diecast collection. Then again, it does show how much I love racing!

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That’s the picture that won it for me.

Also, this time last year, I wasn’t quite looking forward to returning back to Singapore from my two month stay over in Sacramento, California at my cousin’s place. I had just finished my two year National Service, I had two months of nothing to do, might as well visit my family overseas, better than rotting at home and doing nothing in this hot weather. I do love the weather there, especially at the Bay Area (San Francisco/Berkeley), would love to stay there!

With nothing to do, I’d usually turn to my games and I finally bought White 2 after a year of waiting. The second version feels a lot different than the first version, that much I’ll say. It’s like playing a different version with a few similarities. And yup, I’ve already beaten the champion, easiest league match ever (too much training helps). Also been playing Football Manager 2013 and got Scottish side Queen’s Park from the 3rd division to the 1st division and on course to make it to the Premier Division. Now, what other games can I play before school starts. WWE 2K14 and F1 2013 won’t be coming out soon, so that sucks.

So next week in the Singapore Grand Prix, I can’t wait for it as always. I still have not made up my mind on where I’ll be watching the race from (Sunday’s action I meant). I thought watching the action from Turn 7-8 would be a great spot, too bad my view was blocked by some tall buggers the whole time, should have gotten there earlier. This time, I might decide on Turns 22-23 or Turn 3 (I’ve got walkabout tickets if anyone is wondering). I’ll be walking around the circuit as usual, just enjoying the event. Hopefully I’ll get to meet one of the drivers again, I’ve bumped into one or two in the last few years (nobody last year in Singapore, a number of guys in Melbourne though). Bring on the racing weekend!

IndyCar drivers who have tested F1 cars – Pictures

This is just for fun, pictures of IndyCar drivers who have at some point tested an F1 car sometime during their career:

Marco Andretti – Honda F1 – 2006

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This test was a reward to Marco Andretti for winning the IndyCar Rookie of the Year in 2006. Would be nice if there was still a Honda team around to give these IndyCar drivers an F1 test once in a while again. Marco has previously said that he wouldn’t think about moving to Formula One until he’s won the Indianapolis 500.

Townsend Bell – Jaguar Racing – 2003

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There was a point in time where Townsend Bell was America’s next big F1 hope after having a decent year in F3000 and testing for BAR Honda and Jaguar but nothing came out of it for the San Francisco native.

Sébastien Bourdais – Arrows Grand Prix – 2002

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Like Bell before, Seb Bourdais was once touted as France’s next big Formula One driver and after winning F3000, he tested for the likes of Arrows and Renault. The move to Arrows never happened due to the issues they faced and nothing happened for him with Renault. He would end up getting that F1 chance with Toro Rosso in 2008 after winning four straight ChampCar titles but it didn’t work out for him.

Ryan Briscoe – Toyota F1 – 2004

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Ryan Briscoe was once part of the Toyota F1 young driver’s program having joined them in 2001 and testing for them since 2002 and was promoted as the third and reserve driver in 2004. When Toyota announced that they would supply engines to Jordan Grand Prix, Briscoe was given the opportunity to drive for them but he opted for Ganassi Racing in IndyCar. Eight years on, Briscoe will re-join Ganassi for the 2013 Indianapolis 500.

Mike Conway – Brawn Grand Prix – 2009

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Like Briscoe before, Mike Conway was once part of the Honda young driver program and was promoted as a test driver for Honda Grand Prix in 2007 along with his GP2 program. He was considered for the Super Aguri drive at one point but nothing came of it. He tested for Brawn GP in 2009 after his first year in IndyCar but stayed in America after that.

Scott Dixon – Williams F1 – 2004

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Having won the IndyCar championship the year before, Dixon was given a chance to test the Williams car in 2004 with a possible chance for a drive in 2005. Nothing came up for him likely due to his poor performance from the test session.

Sarah Fisher – McLaren Mercedes – 2002

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During the 2002 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, Fisher was given a chance to test the McLaren car in between the friday practice session in what was just a promotional test.

Dario Franchitti – Jaguar Racing – 2000

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Dario Franchitti actually had his first F1 test with McLaren in 1995 thanks to winning the McLaren award and waited another five years for a proper F1 test with Jaguar performing test sessions for Jaguar under his mentor Sir Jackie Stewart but he couldn’t secure a race seat with the team. His cousin Paul di Resta races for Force India F1 these days.

Bryan Herta – Minardi F1 – 2002

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Herta got a chance to test for Minardi and was even considered to replace Alex Yoong for a few races in 2002 but that role went to Anthony Davidson.

JR Hildebrand – Force India F1 – 2009

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After winning the 2009 Indy Lights championship and running a number of races for Team USA in A1GP and was given a chance to test with Force India F1 before moving back to the States.

Tony Kanaan – BAR Honda – 2005

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Tony Kanaan was given a chance to test the BAR Honda car in 2005 as a prize for winning the 2004 IndyCar championship with Honda. There was a small rumor of him moving to F1 but he had a contract with Andretti-Green till 2008 meaning that was never going to happen.

Katherine Legge – Minardi F1 – 2005

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Katherine Legge became the first female to test an F1 car since Fisher in 2002 when she was given a chance to test for Minardi in one of their last few test sessions in F1. After crashing after just two laps, she was given a second day and did alright before moving to the States to race in ChampCar.

Alex Lloyd – McLaren Mercedes – 2004

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The prize for winning the 2003 McLaren Autosport Award was a first F1 test for Alex Lloyd who tested the car with Jamie Green and Lewis Hamilton. He would move on to America with limited chances in Europe.

Will Power – Minardi F1 – 2004

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Will Power and Will Davison were both given a test with Minardi by compatriot Paul Stoddart and both guys did well before moving to A1GP and World Series by Renault. Will (Power that is), would move over to the States with not much chances for him to move up the ladder in Europe.

Graham Rahal – BMW Sauber – 2008

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This wasn’t actually a test session but a demo run in the United States with Graham Rahal getting a rare chance to drive a Formula One car even if it’s just a demo run. Still the only time Rahal has driven an F1 car in his career.

Takuma Sato – Scuderia Toro Rosso – 2008

IndyCarF1Test - Sato2

Many will know that Taku came from F1 to IndyCar and that he raced for the likes of Jordan, BAR and Super Aguri but many may not know is that he actually tested for Scuderia Toro Rosso in 2008 in the hopes of finding his way back to F1 after Super Aguri left. Sato didn’t make his way back to the grid but would end up moving to IndyCar.

Tomas Scheckter – Jaguar Racing – 2001

IndyCarF1Test - Scheckter2

After a few years in the main European junior series, Scheckter was hired by Jaguar Racing as a test driver for the 2001 season but he was fired for an embarrassing incident even before the year ended. He moved to the States the year later.

Oriol Servia – Prost Grand Prix – 2000

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Servia moved to the States after winning a few F3 championships and won the 1999 Indy Lights championship. He would end up testing for the Prost Grand Prix during 2000-2001 but nothing came out of those tests and stayed in the States ever since.

Paul Tracy – Benetton F1 – 1994

IndyCarF1Test - Tracy

Paul Tracy made a quick impact in IndyCar, winning races in his first full season and finishing 3rd in his first two full season campaigns in IndyCar. He got the chance to test for F1 champions Benetton in 1994 and that was his only test in F1.

EJ Viso – Spyker F1 – 2006

Formula 1 Grand Prix, Brazil, Friday Practice

For a while, it looked as if EJ Viso would be Venezuela’s best hope in Formula One. A race winner in GP in 2006, he was given the chance to test the Spyker F1 car during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Two years later he moved to the States.

Justin Wilson – Jordan F1 – 2001

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Those who follow F1 will remember that Justin Wilson drove for Minardi and Jaguar in 2003 but some may not know that he tested for Jordan F1 back in 2001. He showed his speed there and got his F1 chance but couldn’t stay due to lack of sponsorship money and moved to the States the next year.

2013 Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix – My Weekend in Sepang

Friday

The day started at 4.30am for me. Why did I get up so early? Well, I was heading to Malaysia on the Friday itself, with an early morning flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur. First time I took a budget flight and it’s actually not so bad, I sure as heck wouldn’t mind taking these budget flights again. Since the Sepang International Circuit and Kuala Lumpur International Airport was close by, why the heck not fly on the day itself. And I learnt from the day itself right away, if you’re going to Sepang, don’t ever take the cab, just take shuttle bus. Actually, don’t ever take the cab in Malaysia, those guys will try to cheat you off by making you pay for a little bit more than you should.

The one good thing about the Malaysian Grand Prix is that for the Friday, it’s free admission to ANYONE and the only reason to bring a ticket would be for the pit-lane walk (which I didn’t go as I was a bit tired). As it is free admission, you don’t need to watch the action from your seat, you can watch the action wherever you damn well please. So for the first F1 practice session and the GP2 session, I was watching the action from the main grandstand just opposite the pit-lane.

I was right opposite the Marussia and Caterham pit garages as they were the nearest and the ones that wasn’t the most crowded (don’t need to say which ones were the most crowded), so I might as well watch it from there. It was pretty cool to see the cars come out from the pit-lane and doing those pit-stops and the practice starts. And of course, those cars streaking down the front straight at full speed, they really are freaking loud but that is music to my ears.

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After the first F1 practice and the GP2 practice, it’s time for a break, I’m not interested in those Malaysian Super series of whatever it was called, so I got my lunch, and guess what? They actually have A&Ws over at Sepang. Singapore doesn’t have A&Ws anymore and the last time I actually had them was over in Calgary, Alberta during my short trip to Canada in 2010 before the start of my national service. I sure miss those curly fries and obviously the best bit of A&Ws, the awesome Root Beer!

For the second F1 practice session, I was watching from the other side of the main granstand, overlooking Turns 9, 10, 14 and the back straight, so it’s another good view from there. After enjoying the view there, I wanted to watch the action from opposite the pit-lane once again and we would stay there for the duration of the second practice session and GP2 qualifying. Just as I made it there, it started to rain! So nice timing from me there, didn’t get to see any action for a while thanks to the wet track. I was close to the Red Bull and Ferrari garages so I got to see those guys in action. Pretty good view there, and after the session ended, Felipe Massa and Jenson Button stopped for the inspections so I got to see them in flesh (Raikkonen as well). GP2 qualifying was good too, Coletti scored the pole. Saw one of the dumbest things on the big screen when Cecotto shoved Bird off circuit for whatever reason. And just in front of me, I saw Canamasas and Berthon nearly trading blows, pretty interesting qualifying eh? After the session, it’s time to head to the hotel to check in. I did get to see the ten Sauber showcars near the main grandstand, pretty cool.

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Saturday

After a nice breakfast from the hotel (aren’t they always nice?), it’s time to get to the circuit via the shuttle from the hotel, so that’s nice. A shuttle full of Brazilians sure can be quite entertaining. Friday is free admission, so for Saturday and Sunday, it’s to the proper seats. Got my seats at Grandstand F and actually, the view there is pretty good, you’ll get to see Turns 5, 6, 7, 8 and 15 (the last one). If I had gone a few rows further to the left, I would have gotten a great view of the two long straights!

First piece of action was the GP2 Feature Race and it was a great race, lots of action around. Got to see two team-mate taking each other out, lots of overtaking at Turn 15. For that race and the F1 third practice session, I was moving around the grandstand to get pictures from all sorts of views and I think I got some good ones from both sessions. The fish and chips they’ve got there is not bad too!

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Qualifying was good session, but I didn’t move around much this time. Usual suspects got eliminated from the first session and the second session. The second session was a bit crazy. It started to rain with some 8 minutes or so to go for the session, so a few guys had their sessions ruined by the rain. I did get to see Paul di Resta spinning like a top at Turn 8 thanks to the wet weather and him being on the dry tyres.

So with that, the third qualifying session would be on the intermediate tyres and everyone sitting from the back rows moving to the front, it may have been a “covered grandstand” but we were still hit by the rain! I thought for a moment the Mercedes might spring a surprise but guess who got the pole, Vettel again. Massa got a big cheer when he bit Alonso to 2nd. Luckily the rain stopped before the Q3 started. Oh, and if you can drive to the circuit, you might as well do that, long wait just to get onto the shuttle bus.

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Sunday

After another good hotel breakfast and checking out of the hotel, it’s time to head over to Sepang for the Sunday action. I had a major dilemma for the first part of Sunday, head over to the F1 autograph session or watch the GP2 Sprint Race. I knew that there was little chance for me to get anything, the autograph session didn’t look as properly planned as those guys over in Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix, so GP2 it is for me. Did bought a Webber and Button shirt and Michael Schumacher’s 1991 Belgian GP debut race minichamp model.

The GP2 sprint race was as good as the sprint race, with Coletti winning this time. Great races for the likes of James Calado, Felipe Nasr, Jolyon Palmer and Conor Daly. Nice to see Conor go from one of the slowest in practice to scoring points in the race, hope to see him in action in Singapore for the GP2 race.

Next up was that Malaysian series. The best bit was Saturday’s race because a Singaporean won it, so for those Malaysians to hear the Singaporean anthem must have been awful for them and awesome for me. IN YOUR FACE SUCKAS! The Asia Porsche Carrera Cup race was good as well, didn’t see the other sessions as it was the last one, but for sure I was going to watch the race.

After that, it’s time for the big one, the 2013 F1 Malaysian Grand Prix. And to make things even more interesting, it started to rain 30 minutes before the race started. Kinda sucks that they didn’t have a driver parade as they do in Australia and Singapore, their was only at the front straight with some kids asking some silly questions, really? I’d rather have those guys go around the circuit for the parade.

Got a good view of all the crazy action on the grid and got to see the tents come up thanks to the wet weather. The start was ok, didn’t see anything crazy but then as I was filming the guys crossing the line for the first lap, Fernando Alonso goes off at the first corner on the second lap. I had originally planned to watch the race there, so that kinda sucked, didn’t see anyone go off from where I was for the F1 race (for other series, I did see some off moments).

It was a good race, Webber was looking good the whole way and all of a sudden, Vettel closed on him and passed him, obviously I didn’t know what was going on at that time, the speakers didn’t give any good info about the race. I saw the Mercedes guys overtaking each other for a while but then it stopped, didn’t know about both team’s message to their drivers about holding station. One obeyed, the other didn’t.

So Vettel won in controversial fashion. I would only know about it at the airport a few hours later, we didn’t get to hear the post-race interview. But the way Vettel celebrated the win, I didn’t think there was anything up. Still, it was a good race. After the race, time for the long wait for the shuttle to the main entrance and another long wait for the shuttle to the airport. Didn’t stay on for the Guns N Roses concert, I’m sure I wouldn’t get a good view of it anyways. McDonald’s dinner and a few hours of waiting with free wifi at the airport. Just before I headed for my gate, I bumped into Fernando Alonso and got a picture with the two-time world champion, talk about good timing. Good weekend in Sepang. Would I go there again? I just might actually. Not as good as Singapore, Melbourne or Sonoma, but still quite good.

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KSM’s Top 10 – Formula One Grand Prix races I’d like to visit

It’s the month of March, and for motoracing fans like myself, that can only mean one thing, the start of the new Formula One season is fast approaching. In just under two weeks times, the green light will go out to start the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. Too bad I won’t be there to catch the action in Melbourne once again, hopefully I’ll be back soon. But thinking about it, that was one of the most fun I’ve had in a trip. And I’m starting to reach that point where I’m planning my holidays around watching some races, and there are some really good circuits on the F1 calendar I’d love to visit some day. I’m lucky that there is a race in Singapore these days so I can catch the action here and even luckier enough to watch the race in Melbourne (if I end up moving there in the future, even better for me). So how about a Top 10 grand prix I’d like to visit sometime in the future?

10 – Italian Grand Prix (Monza)

I sure as heck am not a fan of Ferrari, but the atmopshere in Monza surely has to be one of the best anywhere around the world, and I wouldn’t mind experiencing it for myself sometime in the future. I do like the Monza circuit, it’s one of the quickest and one of the best around, I don’t mind visiting that circuit just to watch a good race there, and try not to let the Ferrari crowd intimidate me at all!

9 – Indian Grand Prix (Uttar Pradesh)

Of the Grand Prix held in Asia, there’s really only two that I’ve not been to that I really don’t mind travelling to, and India’s Budh International Circuit is one of them. It looks like a nice circuit with some great viewing points, so that’s good for fans. I’ve not been to India for sometime, and I’m sure I’ll be in India sometime in the future (probably for one of my cousin’s wedding or whatever), and who knows, maybe I could try to make the trip to Uttar Pradesh for the race too?

8 – German Grand Prix (Hockenheim/Nurburgring)

Germany, race cars, need I say more? It sucks that there’s isn’t one fixed circuit for the grand prix, I’m not a fan of alternating races at all. But if I were to ever go to Europe, surely the German Grand Prix would be one I would consider watching. I’ve always been a number of German drivers (Ralf Schumacher, Nick Heidfeld, Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel, Heinz-Harald Frentzen), why not check out their home race too if given the chance?

7 – Japanese Grand Prix (Suzuka)

Sure, many people know I’m not a fan of many things Japanese (also because my brother is a Japan-fanatic, so why not?), and I’ve always said I don’t really want to go to Japan. But for the race in Suzuka, I sure wouldn’t mind it at all. It’s one of the better circuits around too, so why the heck not.

6 – Monaco Grand Prix (Monte-Carlo)

It’s Monaco, why the hell wouldn’t you want to go there? Sure, the racing there is non-existant, but it’s F1’s version of the Indianapolis 500, the history is all there. Plus it’s a street circuit so I’m sure I can enjoy the action a lot better than a racing on a normal race circuit. I’m not sure if Monaco has a ticket like the one in Marina Bay, where you can walk around the circuit, because that is a big win for me (and that’s why Marina Bay and Melbourne will always be my two favourite circuits to visit).

5 – British Grand Prix (Silverstone)

If the British Grand Prix were to be held a week earlier this year (2013), I might have planned a visit to Silverstone. Unfortunately, my school starts again the day after the race, so that’s the reason for me not going there. I’ve always wanted to visit England, and a trip to the home of British motorsports is a must for me, being a fan of many things British in racing too (teams and drivers). Plus I’ve always heard many good things from my friends who have been there.

4 – Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps)

That’s probably my next favourite circuit on the F1 calendar after Montreal, and the circuit itself looks stunning, and I’ve seen pictures from my friend’s visit to Spa, and I’m convinced already that I’ve got to visit Spa sometime in the future. There’s just something special about it really. If I was loaded, I’d be making plans to fly to Belgium for the race for sure. There’s always great racing there. And it’s a big circuit too, so if it’s possible to walk around it like the street circuits, that would be awesome.

3 – Grand Prix of America (Hudson County, New Jersey)

It’s been delayed for 2014, but I really wouldn’t mind making the trip there. It looks like a great street circuit and Manhattan is just the other side of the Hudson river, that’s two big wins in my view for visiting that circuit. It being a street circuit, I’m sure the atmosphere will be great. Me being into photography these days, I’ve gotta find a way to get a pic of the cars with Manhattan as a background, now that would be some picture. I’m sure there would be a lot to do at that area as well during the weekend and after the race. Plus I’ve always wanted to visit New York.

2 – United States Grand Prix (Austin, Texas)

Last year was the first race in Austin, and I could tell right away it was a great circuit, some good racing and from what I heard from a friend of mine, the experience there was something special, so I’d like to experience it myself sometime in the future. Plus it’s in Texas. And it’s also got that awesome looking viewing tower, I sure wouldn’t mind watching the action from right up there. I can tell that the circuit has got some really great views around the circuit, and that Turn 1 is something special too.

1 – Canadian Grand Prix (Montreal, Quebec)

Surprised? If you know me quite well, you shouldn’t be. It’s a street circuit, and one of the best ones around too. And it’s my favourite circuit, and I’ve seen pictures from a few people who’ve been to the race, I can tell it sure is worth the money. And there’s always great races in Montreal. The city itself, from what I’ve heard, is one of the best places to visit for a Grand Prix too. There surely has to be a number of great views around the street circuit. If it’s possible to move around the circuit, even better for me. Plus it’s in Canada!

Realistically, I would only consider the first six in the near future, unless I’ve earned a lot of money and can do some travelling in the future. As you can tell from the top three picks, I’m a bit biased to the North American races, I really do like what I’ve seen from Texas and I’ve always wanted to watch race in Montreal, and with New Jersey set to be a back-to-back race with Montreal in the future, even better since they are qute close by. You may notice one race isn’t on that list. There’s a good reason for that, and it’s not because I don’t like the place (I do like it, just don’t like some of the people). Well, in a few weeks time, I’ll be heading off to Sepang to catch the Malaysian Grand Prix for the first time. I doubt that it will be as good as Marina Bay, Melbourne or the Sonoma IndyCar race, but hopefully it will still be a great experience.

2012 Formula One Singapore Grand Prix – My story from the weekend

Another Singapore Grand Prix done and dusted, and the good news is, there will be more to come with the race organisers having extended their deal for another 5 more years, something we all found out in the middle of all the action on Saturday. This event always seems to amaze me, be it the action on track or off it too, with some of the big names from the music industry also showing up and performing. For me, it’s the best of both worlds. I like watching motoracing and listening to music. They don’t just have Formula One cars in action but a host of junior series, including GP2 for the first time in Singapore, and a few big name performers.

Things didn’t start out well on Friday, as it was raining when I got to the circuit, and silly me didn’t bring a coat or anything, so I had to spend two dollars on poncho. The GP2 practice session was first up, and because it was still so wet, those guys had to use the Wet tyres, and there’s always going to be some good action in the wet in slow corners, so I just had to make my way to Turn 14 first to get some good shots and then Turn 8. And sure enough, a few guys did have some close calls at both these corners. One even went straight for the barrier, and I caught that on video!

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For the first practice session for F1, I found a nice spot at Turn 21, looking straight at the cars making their ways through Turns 20 and 21, and if it wasn’t for a bunch of pushy people trying to act all high and mighty thinking it was their ground and they can do whatever the hell they wanted (screw you idiots), I could have gotten a few more good shots out of it. For the rest of the session, I went just outside the exit of Turn 21, just to hear the loud engines at full power, and yes I took my headphones off for a while (why not?). Crossing the bridge and saw the action for a while from the other side of Turn 21 before making my way to the Singapore Flyer, overlooking the exit of Turn 21. If not for the fences, that would have been a good spot to get some good shots as well. Near the end of the session, Vitaly Petrov smacked the wall right in front of us. He had earlier given me a nice shot of him going sideways through Turn 21, but I wasn’t ready this time around.

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I didn’t catch the GP2 qualifying, the only time for the whole weekend that they would run at night, but I did catch the cars just before they got out on track for qualifying, all of them were lining up just outside the Singapore Flyer, so it was pretty cool to see the cars and the stars up close for once. For the second F1 practice, I thought it would be pretty cool to check out the action from the top of the Esplanade, and that was really something. Too bad the pictures weren’t that great, why are some Singaporeans so pushy all the time, I just wanted to take a few pictures, that was all! Some people really are a bunch of idiots. I went down to Turn 14 again, now from the inside, to get a few other pictures.

Friday is probably the best time to get some really good pictures as there won’t be many people around so you don’t have to worry about finding spots, and you can roam around easily as I did for that very reason. I did the same thing for Saturday’s F1 practice and qualifying, and the GP2 feature race too. It was cool to see the cars going around Turns 22 and 23, with the Singapore Flyer overlooking the whole action. I had the tickets that would allow me to go on the Singapore Flyer….FOR FREE! But I did promise my cousins I would take them there sometime in the future and that would be my first time on the Flyer too, and I’m a man of my word, so I’ll wait. I tried to get some shots of the cars going past the Singapore Flyer, but there’s not much you can do with those pesky catch fences ruining your pictures. The GP2 action was quite good, lots of overtaking from where I was (which was Turn 5 on both sides) and I was right there to see the first lap crash at Turn 5 too. I would end up making my way to the start/finish straight area and was in time to see the podium celebration, Max Chilton was the race winner. Not much happened for the F1 qualifying, except for the fact that Sebastian Vettel, who had topped all three practice sessions, only got 3rd for qualifying, beaten by Pastor Maldonado (how?) and Lewis Hamilton, who made it 4 poles in a row for McLaren.

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As I said, the action just isn’t on track for the Singapore Grand Prix, there are some off it too. There tends to be a lot of things going on at the village areas, but I didn’t check them out that much this time out, except for the one over at Zone 1, since it was my first time at that part of the circuit. I didn’t see any acts on Friday, no-one interesting of note to catch. I mean, I would rather watch Korea’s Big Bang (last year’s main attraction for Friday) than the Taiwanese guy who was the main attraction for Friday, Jay Chou, whoever the hell he is. At least there were two big names for Saturday, the main one being Maroon 5 (and it took me nearly an hour to get to the Padang stage, which normally would only take me 15 minutes!). They were pretty good, made a fan out of me at the end of the night. They might have been the main attraction for Saturday, but the one I wanted to see was the main attraction over at the village stage, none other than Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. I had to see my favourite musician live since he’s here in Singapore.
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I’ve always been a fan of Oasis and Noel Gallagher, so that was a real treat for myself to see the legend himself with my own eyes. Their self titled album is just awesome, best album I’ve heard in a while. Sunday’s closing act is probably one of the biggest stars around (to everyone else, to me it was Noel Gallagher), Katy Perry. She too made a fan out of me with some of her music, her show was good too, espicially the top hit “Firework”. And yes, there were fireworks going off too during that awesome song. Glad to have caught all three of them in action.

I had originally planned to watch the Sunday’s action from Turn 3, but having seen the place for myself the day before, I didn’t think it would be all that great, the catch fences really would screw up most of my pictures. I caught the GP2 sprint race action, firstly near the start/finish itself, then to Turn 23 and finally back to Turn 21, and then over to Turn 22 to get some good shots of those GP2 cars. Last year, I wanted to watch from just before Turn 8, the same place where Michael Schumacher had his big moment. So I caught the action there this year. Good place to watch some really good action, espicially some side by side moments. Not so good place to get photos, espicially as there were many people around there, all doing the same thing! Hate being short sometimes, and hate coming late too sometimes, I could have gotten a better place if I had gotten there a bit earlier. Oh well. Still, I did get a good view of the drivers during the driver’s parade, so it wasn’t all doom and gloom.

The race itself was quite interesting, Hamilton lead Vettel for the first part of the race quite comfortably before he had his gearbox failure, taking him out of the race. Vettel then lead from Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso, who was chased the whole time by Paul di Resta. Narain Karthikeyan brought out the first Safety Car after he hit the “mini-tunnel” at Turn 18. The second safety car came out a few laps later, yet another Michael Schumacher moment, he ran into the back of Jean-Eric Vergne’s car at Turn 14. He did give us all a wave over at the viewing platform just before Turn 8. I wonder if he was waving goodbye too. Vettel went on to win the race quite easily, his second win of the season and his second in Singapore, thus making him the first guy to win in Singapore back to back. It was nice to see Button finishing on the podium. Every grand prix I’ve been to so far (Singapore 2011, Australia 2012 and Singapore 2012), Vettel and Button have been on the podium on each occasion (1-2s as well) and Schumacher have retired in all of them. See a patern emerging here? I guess my dad and my brother may not want me to watch any more grand prix from now on! Haha!

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It was another great event, three days of fun, listening to some good music and watching the best young drivers showcasing their talents and also watching the best drivers in the world battle it out in one of the hardest circuits in the world. That was also my third race watching live this year, having previously watched the 2012 F1 Australian Grand Prix and the 2012 GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma, all three were really good in their own special ways. I can’t wait for the 2013 Singapore GP already!

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Can’t wait for more!

March 2012 Trip to Melbourne, My Stories (from my old website)

Day 1

It’s been great so far here in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia! Took us a while to get out of the airport, thanks to some checks, including a guard check were guard dogs were sniffing us! Sorry buddy, I’m straightedge, no drugs here!

The hotel is not that bad, not the greatest one for sure, but at least it’s better than nothing. I don’t like the idea of paying neaely $100 just to use internet everyday, but hey, at least I can keep up with what’s going on the world and do these kind of stuff!

So far, just been exploring Melbourne, which is a bit tricky at times to locate where you’re going, but we got the hang of things quickly. Had lunch at where else…..McDonald’s! And birds actually flew in the damn Macs! Saw some interesting shops, Vodafone, Target, and my favourite, Modelmania, a place to get model cars, which is what I collect!

Day 2

Got to do some exploring of the city yesterday, which was the plan. Melbourne really is a great city, it looks good with all the buildings and the surroundings, it’s got all kinds of thing for everyone really. The free tram ride was worth it, about 25-30 minutes but you get to see all kinds of stuff.

Also got to buy some of my model cars at a shop called Modelmania, that’s the biggest model car shop I’ve ever seen! I wish we had one like that in Singapore, would make my life a lot easier! And it’s got all sorts of cars too, I think I can probably reach 100 models if I were to stay here!

And I one thing I noticed about Melbourne, there are a lot of Asians around here, which is nice to see. Kinda reminds me of Canada, lots of different people! Chinatown was packed with chinese people, then again, it’s Chinatown! But it’s so weird to hear some of them with an Aussie accent!

Best part of the day has to be checking out the entire view of Melbourne from the top of the Eureka Skydeck 88! From the 88th floor, you can pretty much check out the whole of Melbourne, and I got some awesome pics from there!

Day 3

After some Macs breakfast, it’s off to Albert Park for us, the site of the Australian Grand Prix, and wow that was some fun today. The queueing is not fun, either entering the circuit, trying to get to the Pit lane or waiting for driver’s autographs!

The pit-lane walk was quite interesting, went for the first one, and caught so much that I didn’t really need to go for a 2nd one! You get to see the cars (not entirely fitted), the parts, the people who work on them, and also got to see a few pit-stop demonstrations! Other than the F1 garages, also got to see the V8 garages. And the fans can actually go behind the garage to see the things going on there, so I got some pics of the drivers from there too!

Thanks to my buddy, I even got to meet Garth Tander! And with the autograph sessions, I also got to meet Mark Webber and Seb Vettel (no photographs though, sucks), Sergio Perez and Heinz-Harald Frentzen while my brother got to meet Bruno Senna, Pastor Maldonado and Kamui Kobayashi! And we saw a lot of drivers as well! The best one is the Mercedes one for sure, Michael Schumacher got most of the attention, while Nico Rosberg got very irritated having to sign some of Schumacher’s stuff and started singing to himself at one point because he was bored waiting!

I wish I had gone onto the McLaren line though, you can actually get a pic of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, and I’m a huge JB fan, so that’s a brain fart moment from me there! Oh I’m gonna regret this for a long time aren’t I?

Thanks to the Silver GP advantage passes, we got to see all kinds of stuff, and also watch the action from the paddock club, which was quite nice! Now to enjoy the three day action from the Schumacher stand!

2012 Australian Grand Prix

The Power of 1! Gotta love that slogan! 😀

It really was a great event, the whole four days were way worth the $300+ tickets to watch the action from the Schumacher stand! Sure, trying to get to the circuit can be tricky, even with the free trams, but once you get in, there’s so much to do!

The off-track action is quite good! All kinds of car displays, which is pretty awesome! Lots of car-related activites, which is alright for me! Better than the Singapore GP for sure, I’m not into the whole entertainment/musical activites.

Thursday was pretty fun. The pit-lane walk was quite eye-opening, seeing all the things that go around the garage and what these F1 guys do just before these race weekends! And that’s thanks to the GP Advantage, which allowed me to watch the action from the F1 paddock club for the day too, access to the GP Bar and a free item (a freaking cup). Also on thursday was the F1 driver’s autograph session. I got Vettel, Webber, Perez signatures while my brother got Senna, Maldonado and Kobayashi. I even got to meet Garth Tander and Heinz-Harald Frentzen! What a day and that was just Thursday!

Friday was mostly just watching the action, either from the Schumacher stand, overlooking Turns 15 and 16 (the last two turns) and also checking out the action in Turn 14 for a while too. If only I had known that Turn 13 was a good spot to check out the action too, I would. Problem was, it rained that day! It was on and off, so that didn’t really help much for me!

Saturday was another good day. Listening to those V8 engines of the F1 car, that’s music to my ears! I got some good action from my stand for the support races, so that was nice! I got to meet two of my good friends from my online game, and another two on Sunday as well, so it’s nice to meet them in person, and at a grand prix too, since we’re all fans of motoracing!

Sunday was a whole day of action! Like the previous day, it was petty hot, but still, the action to me on track was hotter! Before the F1 race started, I was watching the pre-race events from the GP Bar and got to see what the teams did while on the grid. After the race, everyone ran to the podium stage and just hung around in the start finish straight! The atmosphere there is superb, so much better than anything I’ve ever experienced!

The Formula Ford races was quite good! I only got to see one Red Bull race-off, but that was full of action, and there was plenty in the last two corners! Only watched one of the Porsche races, but that one was alright too! The V8 Supercar races were all superb, one of the best series in the world for sure! And of course, the F1 action was amazing the whole time! And Jenson Button won the race, and he’s my favourite driver, I can’t ask for more! How I wish I could make another visit here, I’ll make that my aim for the future!

Ending Part

For the last day, most of it was spent on a tour around the Great Ocean Road, which is really something. If you’re in Melbourne, you’ve got to check it out. From the kangaroo sighting to the koala sighting, trying out the Australian foods and also vegimite, to checking out all the historical sights and listening to the stories about early days in Australia and the highlight of the trip, seeing the 12 Apostles, which is something amazing with a great story too. We flew off the very same night, as just my luck, I got to meet Romain Grosjean and Bruno Senna at the Melbourne Airport! Can’t wait to get back there!

First half of 2012 almost done!

Wow, the year really has flown past just like that! I’ve always said that I’ll like 2012 for some good reasons, the main one being that on the 1st of August this year, I’ll finally get out of the army, having had two years of my life wasted there doing nothing when I could be studying!

Already having lots of fun this year, not doing as much work as I did last year (since I had to help out with NDP and all). I’ve been two two trips already, firstly to Melbourne, Australia in March to check out the city for my own little break along with attending the 2012 Formula One Australian Grand Prix. The second visit was to Genting Highlands near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. But that’s not all, only 2 days after my army is done, I’m going on another trip. After all, I do like to travel and see the world for myself. I do like an adventure.

The first half of the year has been great, and I cannot wait for the second half of the year! I mean, in just a few days time, ORD! Gone from the army. School starts in October, I hope, and it’s back to the life I’m used to, as a student. Anything with freedom and I’m cool with that!